Eastbound & Down

Our little family loaded up into two seperate cars we set our sights on the east coast. We took our time traveling across the country and did the trip in three days, taking time so show Brian some sights like Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, the Arch, & the Corn Palace. Traveling East - 1Traveling East - 2Traveling East - 4Traveling East - 7Traveling East - 9

Only a week after arriving here it was time for Brian & I to say goodbye to each other while we each complete this next leg of our journey apart from one another. See you soon babe.East Coast - 1East Coast - 2East Coast - 3East Coast - 10East Coast - 11East Coast - 13East Coast - 16East Coast - 19East Coast - 20East Coast - 21East Coast - 22East Coast - 23East Coast - 26Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetEast Coast - 29

Montana Memories

Load the car & write the note.
Grab your bag & grab your coat.
Tell the ones that need to know.
We are headed East.

The time has come to once again say my goodbyes to Montana. It’s always such a bittersweet moment when we part, but it’s time to step forward into the next adventure. We’ve yet again had some good times my old friend. I’m already looking forward to my next visit. Xoxo.Montana Memories - 4Montana Memories - 6Montana Memories - 8Montana Memories - 9Montana Memories - 11Montana Memories - 12Montana Memories - 14Montana Memories - 15Montana Memories - 16Montana Memories - 18Montana Memories - 19Montana Memories - 23Montana Memories - 24Montana Memories - 28Montana Memories - 29Montana Memories - 30Montana Memories - 31Processed with VSCO with fs1 presetMontana Memories - 33Montana Memories - 38Montana Memories - 39Montana Memories - 40Montana Memories - 41Montana Memories - 43Montana Memories - 45Montana Memories - 49Montana Memories - 50Montana Memories - 51

Goodbye Alaska

I knew this day would come eventually. It’s been pretty much written into our story since before we even got to Alaska. Eve as the years ticked by here the inevitable goodbyes always seemed so far away.

The day after New Years the movers came and packed up our host. The took most of our belongings to port and shipped them back to the lower 48. Three days ago we packed up the Jeep, hugged our friends goodbye, and set our sights on a place far, far away.

We managed to knock out the trip in less than 72 hours – a feat I would not again recommend – but I also wouldn’t recommend driving in -35 degree temps either.

A few snaps from our last few days in the house and our travels through Canada.
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I’m going to miss you Alaska… but damn it feels good to be home.
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Gold Mint Trail

At the base of Hatcher’s Pass, just at the bend in the road that takes you up, up, up the winding trail to the top of the pass, is a trail head to a valley known as Gold Mint Trail. Despite having spent numerous days exploring Hatcher’s Pass, this trail has eluded me up until now – on a perfect bluebird day.Gold Mint Trail - 2Gold Mint Trail - 3Gold Mint Trail - 5Gold Mint Trail - 7Gold Mint Trail - 9Gold Mint Trail - 10Gold Mint Trail - 12Gold Mint Trail - 13

Portage Pass

While the tiny town of Whittier, Alaska is only 60ish miles from downtown Anchorage, it requires a paid pass through the longest highway tunnel in North America. The 2.5 mile tunnel is a one way tunnel and shares its time with the Alaska Railroad, meaning traffic only flows one way at a time and is occasionally paused for the train to use the space as well.

I’ve not spent much time in this town, only having really explored it once a few years ago, Brian & I set out with Kratos to complete a short hike through Portage Pass that we’d been hearing so much about.Portage Pass - 1Portage Pass - 2Portage Pass - 3Portage Pass - 4Portage Pass - 6Portage Pass - 8Portage Pass - 9Portage Pass - 10Portage Pass - 11Portage Pass - 12Portage Pass - 13Portage Pass - 14Portage Pass - 15Portage Pass - 16Portage Pass - 17Portage Pass - 18Portage Pass - 19
After having trekked (and down and up and down again) this short trail, I can’t believe we haven’t spent more time on it’s dirt pathway to heaven. Hopefully we can make a trip up here again after the snow has fallen for another unique view, although I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the lake completely freezes over and we can walk straight up to Portage Glacier before we depart Alaska.

Dip Netting

According to my calculations I’ve been a transient in Alaska for exactly 3 years and 25 days. It’s always been a known fact that my time here was (most likely) going to be cut off at some point or another, so I’ve tried my best to experience Alaska to the best of my ability. Despite all my adventures here it was this weekend that I firmly believe I became a tried and true Alaskan after dip netting the Copper River. (Don’t worry Montana, you’ll always have this girls heart) To fish this river one usually employs a boat to avoid having to navigate the steep cliffs and raging current, but wanting a true Alaskan experience, we chose a different route.

Brian’s Army buddy Scott flew in to town to visit his brother who was stationed at JBER just two days before. Brian is not known to be the most outright adventurous person, there is one person – other than myself – who can talk him into crazy adventures, it’s Scott. So when I learned that Scott was coming into town I knew to expect an adventure and got excited for his arrival.

The four of us took off for the little town of Chitina (pronounced Chit·na by Alaskans) where we parked our vehicles, loaded up our gear onto our backs and took off down an old mining trail for our destination. About 5 rough and tumble miles down river Scott took us down an even gnarlier path through the tree to the cliffs directly above the river. Here we set up shop for the night and got to fishing.
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The boys made quick work of it and by morning we were already packing up and heading back down the trail; except this time we have about 70 lbs of fresh salmon fillets to add to the weight on our backs.

We had strategically taken two vehicles so that the boys could return to Anchorage and I could set out to explore one of the few unexplored (to me) , drive-able sections of Alaska. I made a quick trek into Wrangell – St. Elias National Park as well as explored the town of Valdez. Dipnetting - 14Dipnetting - 15Dipnetting - 16Dipnetting - 18Dipnetting - 19IMG_9788

Byron Ice Caves

I have been jonesing to get to the Byron Glacier ice caves at the bottom of the glacier since I learned of their existence. However, a massive boulder field stands between the end of the definitive trail and the caves themselves, which makes for very slow progress during the thawed months. I’ve set out twice for the caves in warmer weather but was turned around each time by inclement weather / lack of preparedness for such conditions. Each time I was traveling solo and after some situational awareness retreated for my vehicle.

Winter conditions create a vastly different playing field. Avalanches in the valley smooth out the boulder field and create the ability to walk on top of and over much of the difficulties presented at other points of the year. This does however present its own set of unique problems like deep pitfalls, slick conditions, and the danger of avalanches themselves crashing down on you from above with no real place to escape to. But what’s the fun in adventures if not for a little bit of a risk factor? Especially when the reward is so great…

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